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Chicago Blackhawks vs. Washington Capitals @NHLdotcom
Blackhawks-Capitals Preview

GAME: Chicago Blackhawks (18-36-9-6) at Washington Capitals (21-39-8-2).

TIME: Friday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals are looking for anything positive to take into the future.

In a matchup between two of the worst teams in the league, the Blackhawks and Capitals meet at the MCI Center.

Winless in seven (0-4-2-1) The Blackhawks are in last place in the Western Conference with 51 points. The Capitals, suffering through a 1-5 slide, are next to last in the Eastern Conference with 52 points. Both teams are in rebuilding mode, each purging themselves of high-priced talent prior to the trade deadline.

The Blackhawks, who've surrendered 20 goals in their last four games, are coming off a 6-4 loss to New Jersey on Thursday.

Eric Nickulas, Tuomo Ruutu, rookie Michal Barinka and Tyler Arnason scored for Chicago, which battled back from 4-1 deficit to get within a goal before allowing an empty netter to Patrik Elias with one second remaining.

"This team doesn't give up," Blackhawks defenseman Bryan Berard said. "We struggled a little bit in the second but we played really well in the third. Mistakes cost us."

The Capitals, meanwhile, are coming off a 6-0 loss to Buffalo on Wednesday.

Olaf Kolzig, who stayed in Washington despite constant rumors he would be traded before the deadline, made 29 saves. He didn't play Monday against Ottawa because of a stomach virus and to protect him from injury in case the Capitals decided to deal him.

Mike Grier, traded to Buffalo from the Capitals the day before, had a goal and two assists for the Sabres.

STANDINGS: Blackhawks - 51 points, 5th place, 41 PB, Central Division. Capitals - 52 points, 5th place, 41 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Blackhawks - Kyle Calder, 21 points; Arnason, 26 assists and 43 points; Scott Nichol, 116 PIM. Capitals - Jeff Halpern and Dainius Zubrus, 12 goals; Halpern, 19 assists and 31 points; Darcy Verot, 106 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through March 10): Blackhawks - Power play: 14.1 percent (43 for 305), 26th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.9 percent (269 for 317), 8th. Capitals - Power play: 18.9 percent (55 for 291), 6th. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (273 for 335), 26th.

GOALTENDERS: Blackhawks - Michael Leighton (5-17-6, 2 SO, 3.05 GAA); Adam Munro (0-1-1, 2.88). Capitals - Kolzig (18-31-7, 2, 2.85); Sebastien Charpentier (0-5-0, 3.29).

SEASON SERIES: Capitals, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 15; Capitals, 4-0. At Chicago, Peter Bondra and Stephen Peat scored 65 seconds apart early in the second period, and Kolzig made 38 saves for his 33rd career shutout.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blackhawks - 6-24-4-1 on the road; Capitals - 11-19-5-1 at home.

Associated Press
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